A cache of AK series rifles meant for rebel groups in Assam were seized and three persons from Mizoram, believed to be arms smugglers, were arrested on the outskirts of the capital city, police said today.
Acting on a tip-off, a jeep was intercepted by Ri Bhoi District police near Barapani Lake, about 17 km from Shillong, late last night. Eight AK-56 rifles, disassembled to make it easy to carry, were found below the seat cavities of the jeep, a senior police official told PTI.
The vehicle was coming from Piew town of Mizoram bordering Myanmar. A team from National Investigating Agency (NIA) arrived here and would be taking over the investigations.
An NIA official said the arms were suspected to have been coming from Myanmar and to be delivered either to the ULFA or Karbi rebels somewhere on the borders of Meghalaya and Assam's Karbi Anglong district.
Interrogation of the arrested three -- Lallawmzuala, Lalchawisanga and CL Hliva -- suggests that they had ferried consignments of arms for militants groups in Assam and other Northeast states in the past. The NIA is currently investigating a case related to the alleged nexus between militants, politicians, officials and contractors in the Northeast to siphon off of government funds meant for development.
A portion of these funds are being used for procurement of arms. The anti-terror agency in November 2009 had filed a chargesheet against 14 persons including insurgents of Dima Halam Daogah (J), also known as Black Widow, and elected members of Assam's North Cachar Hills Autonomous District Council (NCHADC) for allegedly siphoning off development funds worth crores of Rupees for procurement of arms and ammunition from foreign arms dealers, mostly from Myanmar.